In the last two articles, we covered two of the cheapest ways to get to Hawaii on miles: using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (to book travel on United Airlines and Virgin America) and using Virgin Atlantic miles (to book travel on Virgin America only).
But there is one more secret weapon to get to Hawaii from the West Coast: British Airways Avios.
British Airways partners with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, and both airlines fly from several destinations on the West Coast to Hawaii. Alaska Airlines actually has more flights to Hawaii than any other carrier.
More Flights. Fewer Miles.
How many Avios will it cost? On American Airlines, both LAX-HNL and PHX-HNL are just 12,500 points each way in economy class or 37,500 points each way in business class (with reclining, not lie-flat, seats).
Similarly, using Avios on Alaska will cost the same 12,500 points each way in economy class and 37,500 points each way in business class. Alaska’s “business” class is their standard domestic first class product, but there are non-stop flights from a much wider range of cities: (Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Bellingham, and Anchorage). They also fly to all four of the main Hawaiian islands, so you’ll be less likely to transfer in Honolulu to get to your final destination.
You can book all of these awards speculatively since if you cancel Avios awards more than 24 hours before departure, you’re only out the $5.60 passenger security fee. This beats the policies of the other foreign carriers discussed previously.
What If I Can’t Find Award Space?
One criticism of using Avios to book travel on Alaska Airlines is that some people report difficulty finding award space. This is not because no award space exists. In fact, British Airways never displays Alaska on its search engine. You will need to use Alaska’s website to look for award availability (American’s will work, too) and then call British Airways to book the award, telling the call center agent which flights you want. Scott provided some detailed instructions on using Avios to book awards to Hawaii in a previous post.
In all three instances above, three foreign carriers’ charts and programs dominate the US carriers’ only mileage programs.
Lastly, stay tuned for the final two installments that covers the BEST way to get to Hawaii and some thoughts on strategy based on where you live.